I'm ticked off at Sesame Street, but not for the reason most people are currently ticked off at Sesame Street (and/or certain people associated with Sesame Street). As a child of divorce who grew up to be a divorced parent, I'm ticked off at Sesame Street because they waited 40 years to address the topic of divorce -- 40 years!! And now that they're finally talking about it, they're really only whispering about it. See, Abby Cadabby has been designated the "Hey, let me sing you a song about how my mommy and daddy live in different houses" muppet, which is cool, cause kids love the bright pink "fairy-in-training" character. BUT don't expect to just casually switch on PBS and catch one of Abby Cadabby's divorce-related segments, because they're ONLY available online.
The hell is that about?!
As Sesame Workshop points out in a press release, “Each year about 1.5 million children confront the divorce of their parents, a transition that can be challenging for the entire family, especially young children." 1.5 million!! The release continues: “While 40 percent of families experiencing this, there are few resources to show children they are not the only ones with big questions and feelings about divorce.”
No shit, Sesame Workshop. Believe me, I'm aware of how "few resources" are out there: As a little kid, a 2-minute tune about divorce on my favorite show could've given me just the sort of validation and acknowledgement I needed. Could've done the same for my own kids, but they're too mature now for Sesame Street, so our family missed that boat entirely. And I know plenty of other parents my age who feel the same way.
Sesame Street says they tried to do the divorce thing back in '92, but test audience kids cried, so they scrapped it. What, like kids didn't cry when Mr. Hooper died?! The fire safety episode of Elmo's World scared the crap out of my then 1-year-old daughter, but, um, that's because FIRE IS SCARY. Kids still have to learn about it.
I just don't get it. Why the continuing stigma and shame surrounding children of divorce? Even pink muppet children of divorce can't be on actual television? Check out this clip ...
I mean, is this really too disturbing for TV? (You know, not counting the thing about how it's impossible to look Elmo in the eye anymore.)
What do you think about Sesame Street waiting so long to talk about divorce?
Image via SesameStreet/YouTube